Thursday, 16 February 2012

Counting Calories doesn't work, being a Chocolate Fairy does

I love being a Chocolate Fairy. Not just because it’s the best job title in the world but because it’s the job I always wanted. I know some of you may think it’s a bit twee (some of you have told me the name puts you off) and that somehow it trivialises what we do or makes it less professional but to me it’s fun and above all it’s honest. I call myself a Chocolate Fairy (and we call all the women we train Chocolate Fairies) and not counsellors or coaches or leader or anything like that because my real qualification for doing this work, for running workshops, retreats and ecourses and for writing books is that I am a woman who spent years, decades, struggling with my relationship with food and my body. I tried everything and nothing I tried ever worked. I started more diets than I can remember, I invented my own, I cut things out of my diet, I tried exercising and being good, I counted calories and points and despite my best intentions and my utter desperation, more often than not I didn’t lose weight and when I did I never managed to sustain it for very long. My real qualification for doing this work is that after years of dieting I finally realised that it was the dieting that was making me fatter and fatter and so I STOPPED and found another way. With the help of some trail blazing women (Roth, Orbach, Hirshmann & Munter) and their inspiring books I stopped turning to the diet companies, the media, the celebrities and the so-called experts for the solutions and I started to be my own Guru. Once we realised that it was the diets that were failing us, not the other way round (have you read Audrey's post: Weight Watchers admits that diets doesn't work?) Audrey and I created Beyond Chocolate as much to support ourselves as anything else. Being a Chocolate Fairy was the perfect way to keep making amazing, transformational changes in my own relationship with food, empowering myself know and trust my body in a way that I had never experienced before. Being a Chocolate Fairy means that I stay motivated and inspired and above all aware. Being a Chocolate Fairy places my relationship with food (and ultimately my relationship with myself) at the heart of my life, and that has been such a precious way of continuing to explore and experiment over the past eleven years.

Being a Chocolate Fairy is about being there to support other women, not as an expert who knows better or as a teacher who imparts information but as a compassionate, kind, encouraging ally. It is the most precious privilege to run a workshop and meet the brave, honest women who come, hopeful, cautious, desperate. Sometimes they tell us, this is their last attempt, if this doesn’t work they can’t imagine where to turn or what to do and what they discover is that Beyond Chocolate offers them a real way forward. One that definitely requires effort and commitment, that generally takes time (despite being Fairies, we don’t do magic) and that is so worth the wait and the patience.

The world needs more Chocolate Fairies. Women need allies. We need women who understand, who will offer support and ideas, who know how to listen, who have a deep and well stocked tool bag and who understand what it’s like to have a tool bag and not know how to use it! Women need kindness and compassion and care. And that’s the job of a Chocolate Fairy. Wouldn’t you just love to be one?


  1. I really appreciate that you don't call yourself counsellors or coaches etc, because I do think that it's cheeky when slimming clubs go on about counselling and group therapy, when they aren't trained or registered professionals and having talked to people who have been to said counselling, they have often been told a load of nonsense by someone who wasn't actually trained in counselling. By the way, I'm not calling Beyond Chocolate a slimming club, just meaning that I think it's disingenuous when people claim to be something they aren't, and I like that your approach does feel a lot more honest and up front.

    However I do really dislike the chocolate fairy title. I've been to a day workshop, a small group one, and i found it very interesting and helpful. I've talked to lots of friends about it, but in a million years I wouldn't tell them it was run by a chocolate fairy. I would feel like it diminished the whole thing.

    However it's worked for you, and clearly been very successful as a brand idea, I wouldn't go as far as to say it's off putting, I just try to ignore it I guess.

  2. Thanks so much for your comments and thoughts about using Chocolate Fairy as a job title. It do understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea. And I agree with you 100% about the clubs who mislead. I am a trained psychotherapist, I has taken me 9 years to complete my training and when I see women calling themselves counsellors or therapists who have done short courses or none at all, I find it shocking. Our Chocolate Fairies' training focuses on their own relationship with food and their bodies and on supporting other women as they explore theirs... Anyway, thanks again for your comments.

  3. Yes I am another person who struggles with the title "Chocolate Fairy", I suppose because the main association with fairies is magic and in my experience this is hard work not magic! I too feel it trivialises what is actually not at all trivial."Workshop leader" would be fine with me.
    Just my opinion. I absoluetely love what you do though. Thanks you.

  4. I think chocolate fairy is a super job title. It's fun, humorous, playful and light. All the things a diet is not.


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